I grew up in the desert; no one grew rhubarb. You’d see it in the store occasionally, but no one I knew cooked with it. My best guess is that transplants from other parts of the country created the demand. My mother made a rhubarb pie. . . once. Chocolate pie was most popular in our house. As a parent, I can just imagine her hopefulness, thinking she’d get her kids to eat produce by disguising it as a dessert.
I’m seeing a lot of rhubarb in Poland. It’s in all the markets, friends and bakeries are using it in pies and cakes. My husband and one of the American pilots stationed here were reminiscing how their mothers used to prepare rhubarb in Pennsylvania and Ohio. I decided to give it a try. I’m making a cake that calls for a sour cherry preserves; I think rhubarb sauce will make a good substitute.
Since I was clueless about these red celery-like stalks, Allrecipes gave me a good recipe to work with. The result is a delicious, thick, creamy, sweet and sour sauce. If it turns out to be too thick for my cake topping, I’ll warm it with a spoon or two of water to thin it just a bit.
2 tablespoons butter
4 rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
a pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
- Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Add remaining ingredients and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Surprisingly, the rhubarb breaks down quickly. The sauce isn’t perfectly smooth, but the identifiable bits of the rhubarb fiber are small.